[REAL VERSION] London 2012

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Jeremy Wariner Focused on Gold Medal

Wariner says old coach, new family helping support another run for gold

By Brian Curtis
|  Sunday, Jun 24, 2012  |  Updated 4:34 PM CDT
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Jeremy Warnier says his old coach and growing family are helping support another run for gold.

Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News

Jeremy Warnier says his old coach and growing family are helping support another run for gold.

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On a sweltering Texas track, Jeremy Wariner fights to get back his blistering 400-meter form.

"This is one of my best workouts of the season," Wariner said. "And it comes at a perfect time."

Wariner could train anywhere but, instead, he travels two hours to Waco, where the names of champions, including his own, ring the stadium at Baylor University.

"It kinda helps me go back to where I was when I first got here. You know, I don't get too much of a big head... I stay level," said Wariner.

Back at his old track, and back with Clyde Hart, the coach who led him to double gold medals at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

"He's as healthy as he's been in a long time," said Hart. "Probably in five years."

The relationship between coach and athlete is also healthy, having recovered after a split before the Beijing games.

"I think it's as good as it's ever been," Hart said.

"We're working great. 2008 was a tough year for both of us," agreed Wariner.

Beijing was a disappointment for Wariner. In one of that games' great showdowns, he finished second to rival Lashawn Merritt.

"No one remembers Jeremy got the silver. Everybody talks about that he didn't get the gold," said Hart.

Depressed by the expectations that he would have performed better, Wariner found happiness in a woman named Sarah.

"I met a Jeremy that was probably at his lowest because he was struggling with the fact that he didn't perform the way he was expected to perform and the way he expected himself to perform," said Sarah Wariner, who married Jeremy last year.

"She'll tell it to me straight," Jeremy said about his wife. "Whether I'm running bad or good, she'll be honest with me no matter what. It helps having someone like that on your side that you can trust."

That trust lead to love, marriage, and a family for Jeremy and Sarah.

"When you get married and you have children it just completes everything," Jeremy said.

Together, they are raising Isabella, Sarah's daughter, and a baby boy on the way this Fall.

"Every time we bring it up a smile goes on my face," Jeremy says about the pregnancy.

Family now gives Jeremy a firm footing, especially in tough times, like a recent toe injury and knee surgery.

"They've really motivated me more," Jeremy said.

"I think the best way that I motivate him is just by reminding him, when he's in those times, of how great he actually is. And how spectacular he actually is," Sarah said.

Coach Hart says Sarah and Isabella have made his job a little easier.

"He certainly has matured, and I think that's a good factor," says Hart.

But this trip to the Olympics is different from the Athens and Beijing games -- Jeremy is not the odds-on favorite. There is plenty of tough competition on the track this year. That means the pressure is off -- and he likes it that way.

"It takes a lot of stress off me. This year I can just focus on what I want to do and what I need to do," said Jeremy.

Making it to London would likely mean a rematch with rival Lashawn Merritt, and Jeremy has no interest in adding more silver to the medal collection.

"I want to go out there and win gold. That's my main goal," said Jeremy.

"We're not running to make the Olympic team. We're not running to go to the Olympics. We're making to go after the gold medal," Hart said.

Jeremy believes his time has come again.

"I want it real bad," Jeremy said. "It's been a struggle these last few years. I feel so much better on the track. It feels just like it did a few years ago when I was running fast."

No matter what the future brings, Jeremy Wariner now runs knowing every race comes with a precious reward -- the love of his growing family.

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